Wolverine and the X-Men (1st series) #16

Issue Date: 
November 2012
Story Title: 
The Fires of Hell A-glowing

Jason Aaron (writer), Chris Bachalo (penciler / colorist), Tim Townsend, Jaime Mendoza & Al Vey (inkers), Chris Eliopolous (letterer), Chris Bachalo & Tim Townsend (cover), Jordan D. White (assistant editor), Daniel Ketchum (associate editor), Nick Lowe (editor), Axel Alonso (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (Exec. Publisher)

Brief Description: 

As a young boy, Kade Kilgore grew up under twisted circumstances – his father having murdered his mother. Determined not to end up the same way, the boy resolved to learn how to become a killer first. At the age of 12, he managed to convince the Hellfire Club to promise him his father’s place. A few weeks later, he murdered his father, and eventually the rest of the Hellfire Club’s Inner Circle to replace it with his own. In the present, Kade and his partners are selling Sentinels to several politicians when they are captured by the Phoenix Five and sent to Ryker’s Island. Kade quickly manipulates inmates and wardens both to start a riot and he and his friends use the opportunity to escape. Afterwards, Kade decides they go to Salem Center, where they have unfinished business.

Full Summary: 

Two weeks ago, a private island somewhere in the Indian Ocean:
The preteen, new Elders of the Hellfire Club - Kade Kilgore, Manuel Enduque, Baron Maximilianvon Katzenelnbogen and Wilhelmina Kensington - are holding a special party attended by the leaders of the free world – and other parts that aren’t so free. The guests hide their identities under black hoods.

Kade Kilgore is amused that they would apparently rather not be seen consorting with him. He asks Maximilian to show the good people what is on offer – namely the latest Sentinel models.

Max shows them the Mark X - their collapsible suitcase Sentinel. The Mark XI, transformable all terrain models. The Mark XII: Nanobot Sentienls, sold in bundles of five thousand. Think a swarm of killer bees but made of metal and armed with lasers. The Mark XIII: their take on the Tri-Sentinel. A walking slaughterhouse powered by its own miniature nuclear reactor. When nothing less than genocide will do.

Manuel comes to warn Kade that they have incoming. Looks like all of them. They’d better cut the tour short, Kade announces. Time to talk prices. Buy now or regret later. Maybe sooner rather than later.

After the transactions are completed, Kade suggests that they go ahead and turn those Sentinels on. And a moment later, the roof is torn off as the Phoenix Five hover above them.

Slurping his soda, Kade watches the Phoenix Five make short work of the Sentinels and the politicians run. Kade’s guards suggest there is still time to run and he tells them to do that. Running isn’t in his nature. Suppose it’s in his? Manuel inquires.

Max points out the Sentinels weren’t designed to fight cosmic-powered X-Men. He’ll need another week and a few more billion dollars for that. Wilhelmina relishes the sight and smell of burning people. Kade reminds them who they are and the legacy of wicked decadence they represent. Act like this isn’t the first time they’ve stared down angry super-gods!

Cyclops orders Colossus to go after the escapees. Find whoever was in charge! Kade tells them not to bother. He can tell them who owns this place. The Hellfire Club.

Kindly, Cyclops asks him where they can find them. He promises they can protect the kids. Emma tries to interrupt Scott, who asks if they are wards of the Club or have been hurt in any way. Emma shouts his name and explains their thoughts are dripping with blood and lust for power. They may look like children, but they gave up childish things long ago. They are the Hellfire Club. That’s crazy, what are they, twelve years old? She is eleven” Wilhelmina protests vehemently.

Emma assures him they are depraved little monsters. They should kill them all now. They don’t kill children, Scott announces. Of course not, Kade agrees, he is just the one who leads them into battle. Scott glares as Kade slurps his soft drink.

Cyclops asks if they were the ones who sent that giant Sentinel to Utopia a few months back. He means the one that so frightened poor Wolverine he ran all the way across the country to become a school teacher? Guilty as charged. He’d like to thank Cyclops for what happened since then, by the way. All the big scary speeches and the fighting with the Avengers and now this whole Phoenix kerfuffle… He’s made it very easy for Kade to do business.

Cyclops points at the destruction around them. His business is in shambles. And their little super villain playtime’s just ended. There is no place in the new world for things like them.

Spoken like a true fascist, Kade commends. Keep it up, Scottie, he is actually starting to admire him.

Cyclops announces he has changed his mind. There most assuredly is a place in the world for them…

And so a little later, Kade proudly adds the fact that he is the youngest inmate ever to be admitted to Ryker’s Island to his list of accomplishments.

During lunch, Kade looks for the biggest scariest man in jail – one Anthony Tamazotti – and spits in his sundae. Angrily, the huge man slowly gets up. Kade calmly announces that they all know who he is and how much he is worth. He will pay 5,000 dollars per ounce of this man’s blood that is spilled here today. 10,000 per bone that is broken. 20,000 for each tooth that is pulled. 100,000 if anyone can pry out that one lovely eye of his. An even million for the whole damned head. In a stage whisper, he adds the deal is open to guards as well. Of course, if Kade is dead, they all get nothing. Before Tony can touch Kade, all the inmates are upon him…

Kade muses that, for generations, the name ‘Kilgore’ has been synonymous with people killing one another. His ancestors were all warmongers and profiteers, carpet baggers, white-collar marauders. As for him, he’d always been a quiet child. He hits the guard who tries to alert back-up.

Kade never cried, not even as a newborn. He didn’t laugh or play with toys. He didn’t speak until he was almost five. For the longest time, his parents were worried that there might be something wrong with him. But looking back, he is quite certain that he was just bored.

That all changed the night his father told him the true story of his mother’s death. It was four years after she had fallen overboard from one of his yachts and drowned. He came home from a party, stinking of liquor and guilt. Kilgore Sr. told his son she just wouldn’t listen. He tried to talk sense to her but she wouldn’t listen so he— God help him! She was going to leave him.

It would have been a grisly divorce. She would have taken him for everything she could get. His father, it seems, was rather averse to sharing his fortune. He preferred to settle things out of court.

Kilgore told Kade she didn’t suffer any more than she had to. He’s sorry. He just wanted him to know the truth. They never spoke of it again but that night young Kade realized that someday his father would kill him unless he killed him first. He was eight years old.

Kade began volunteering at local retirement homes. He questioned each resident there until he found what he was looking for. A dying Vietnam veteran. Kade blackmailed him into telling him about killing.

But he needed more. Kade went to the seediest parts of town. The first person who tried to rob him he hired for the right price. He let Kade watch him work.

But even that left him wanting more and so he found a night watchman at the morgue who was open to bribes. Every night for three months, Kade bought himself some alone time with the corpses. After almost a year of study, he felt ready for the true test which he passed by killing both the night watchman and the mugger.

And just like, that he knew he was ready for what lay ahead. He waited patiently until a night when Kilgore Sr. took him along to a masked ball at the Hellfire Club. His father disappeared into a separate room with some ladies.

Kade addressed the crowd, telling them he knows they all hate his father. He’s supremely arrogant, viciously cruel and petty and pathologically pigheaded. He’s also the riches most powerfully connected man in the room which Kade is certain he reminds them of as often as possible. But they can’t simply kill him for fear of losing those connections forever. He is Kilgore’s lone heir. Promise him his father’s place in the circle and he’ll kill him himself.

The crowd stares at him, then laughs. Undeterred, Kade points at a man, Sir Randolph Winstrom, whom he introduces as his father’s toady and mole. That’s a lie! the man protests. The two of them have been plotting together for months to overthrow the ruling council and rape and pillage this Club’s vast resources for themselves, Kade continues. Another man cries out that Winstrom and Kilgore have been awfully chummy of late.

Winstrom grabs Kade and threatens him. He will tell his father about this, he threatens him. Kade points a gun in his face and shouts he tells his father everything. Winstrom demands someone stop this insane child. Another Club member points out they need time to discuss Kade’s suggestions. They don’t have it, Kade replies simply. His father will be walking through that door any second now. He needs to know now: do they have a deal?

Soon Kilgore Sr. returns, demanding more wine. He asks his son why he is standing there alone by himself. Don’t embarrass him in front of these people. Mingle!

Kade replies he’s had enough for one night. Kilgore Sr. wonders where Sir Winstrom is, unaware of the cleaning staff cleaning away blood stains.

Two weeks later, Kade throws his father out of a flying car and splatters his brains across the Alps, then takes his place among the Hellfire Club. A few days later, he kills them as well.

150 years of secrets and hidden wealth… All his. They say that, by the time he was 30, Alexander the Great had conquered most of the known world. Kade only wonders what took him so long.

With the riot in full swing, Manuel and Max join Kade, wondering where little miss whackjob is. They follow the sound of screams to find Wilhelmina torturing a guard. She pouts when she hears they are leaving, considering this place awesome.

Kilgore’s men expect them with a helicopter. Some prisoners protest, demanding the money Kade promised them. Kade tells his men, Mr. Pierce and Mr. Sever, that they believe they are owed something. Pay them for him. The guards reveal laser claws and commence to slaughter the inmates.

Exasperated, Manuel suggests they lay low until the Phoenix madness blows over. Max announces that he needs somewhere to work. He’s devised eleven new Sentinels just in the time they were incarcerated. Wilhelmina demands more stabbing.

Kade has an idea for a place to lay low. And so soon the kids arrive in Salem Center. While Wilhelmina enthuses over some road kill, Manuel and Max express disgust at the small town. Kade tells them they are here to mingle.

Characters Involved: 

Manuel Enduque, Baron Maximilian von Katzenelnbogen, Wilhelmina Kensington, Kade Kilgore (all Hellfire Club Inner Circle)

Colossus, Cyclops, Emma Frost, Magik, Namor (Phoenix Five)


Mr. Pierce and Mr. Sever


In flashback:
Younger Kade Kilgore
Kilgore Sr.
Winstrom and others members of the Hellfire Club
Assorted low-lives

Story Notes: 

This is part of the Avengers versus X-Men crossover.

The story is narrated by Kade Kilgore.

Kade had a giant Sentinel attack Utopia in X-Men: Schism.

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